In an initiative, WWF found 211 exciting species including waking blue fish, a frog with blue eyes and a monkey that sneezes as part of its 6-year-long survey of the Eastern Himalayas covering the Northeast region as well.
The WWF Living Himalayas Initiative in its final report “Hidden Himalayas: Asia’s Wonderland” said there are 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird, and one mammal out of which 15 were found in Bhutan and 60 in Nepal.
Since 2000, 550 new species have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas including Bhutan, north Myanmar, Nepal, southern Tibet and north-eastern Indian states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, and North Bengal.
“Endowed with exceptionally rich flora and fauna, the region (Eastern Himalayas) is truly a conservation jewel,” said Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan.
The report released on the eve of World Habitat Day on Monday showed among other a new snub-nosed money called ‘Snubby’ in Myanmar that sneezes during the rainy season when rain water enters their upturned noses, said the report.
The top of the list is a ‘walking’ snakehead fish because that can survive on land for four days and ‘walk’ or wriggle for over a quarter mile on the ground . The National Geographic says the snakehead fish is “Fishzilla” and suggested further exploration in remote areas of the Indian, Nepalese, and Myanmar mountain ranges may yield more such species, said the report.
Another interesting find was a unicorn of sorts with the protruding “column” found underneath the species. “With discovery, comes the important responsibility to continue protecting and caring for these precious gift that this world has been blessed with,” said Dechen Dorji, Country Representative, WWF Bhutan.
India alone has about 12 percent of the world’s endangered plant species, noted the report though the threats to natural habitats in Eastern Himalayas, climate change, mining, oil and gas projects, road construction, dams and illegal hunting have remained a daunting task for ecologists.